Art History in the Context of Media

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Art history with an expanded concept of material

The focus on material and the way it is handled in art is a central subject of art history and has been addressed for long time primarily with regard to questions of form. In art historical research, processuality in its incompleteness has often been neglected in favor of a reception focused on the artistically autonomous work or negotiated with regard to the comprehensive topos of creativity. For some years now, however, transformation processes in the exhibition space have once again been the subject of artistic procedures, accompanied by philosophical reflections in the course of the so-called Material Turn. In contrast to certain theories of New Materialism and the Actor-Network-Theory, the attention here is directed towards the forces intra-acting in a temporal process—to use Karen Barad's term—and their intentionality that only emerges in the action.

An expanded concept of materiality holds the challenge of looking at heterogeneous intra-acting materials in the artistic process as well as including human and non-human agents and thereby formulating its own concept of materiality in the field of material reflections in post-media environments in the context of displays and dispositifs. The focus is on artistic processes with performative and feminist approaches to materiality, both the activities of a production process and the receptive experience as common social forms of action (John Dewey). The following questions are addressed: What happens in an artistic process in which knowledge is not applied in terms of material knowledge and artistry, but deliberately omits them? And how can cooperative and collaborative modes of production be described and analyzed, which, in addition to skills, describe the processes that occur temporally and intentionally in action itself?

Within the research field, these processes are investigated as affiliations of materiality while there is a focus on aspects of collaboration, collective and feminist as well as queer artistic agency.

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